November 23, 2010
The controversy over the TSA’s new tactics in screening airline passengers has put the same progressives who were against the violation of civil liberties during the Bush administration into somewhat of a dilemma: Criticize the administration for its invasive pat down and scanning procedures or support it as necessary and look like hypocrites. The latter seems to be the tact most taken.
This has led more ‘progressive’ figures like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Ed Shultz to support the clear violation of the Fourth Amendment in the name of security. Matthews suggested that the Obama administration had no choice but to implement these measures, because if there were to be another terrorist attack, they would be blamed for not keeping Americans sufficiently safe. Shultz expressed on air the confusing position that resorting to profiling was “trading liberty for security,” but the invasive pat downs are justified because only around two percent of Americans are having to endure it. He even stated it was OK because counter-terrorism experts say it is necessary.
The ‘progressive’ among us have now hypocritically voiced support for a violation of civil liberties all in the name of security — something they would have decried the government for under the previous administration. One can’t help but wonder how conservatives would have behaved had these pat downs taken place under the previous administration. Sadly, they would have more than likely supported them.
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November 19, 2010
“At the foundation of our civil liberties lies the principle that denies to government officials an exceptional position before the law and which subjects them to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.”
— Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
May 3, 2009
Here is an interesting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo obtained by The Daily Beast that outlines common terms (or “lexicon”) used in memos like the “Rightwing Extremism” memo widely reported in the news a few weeks ago. It seems that the DHS is fairly careful to note that the groups mentioned, covering the extremes of the political spectrum, are only ones that advocate violence, terrorism and/or criminal activity. Perhaps the criticism by conservatives and libertarians, like myself, when the story about the Rightwing memo first broke was a little over-hyped. It will be interesting to see what other memos are released by the Obama DHS in the months and years to come.
April 15, 2009
This report from the Department of Homeland Security warns of a revived right-wing extremist threat to the nation. Among those suspected: returning military veterans and those who believe in “end times” prophecies. A Washington Times article on the report stated the following:
A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines “rightwing extremism in the United States” as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority (emphasis added). “It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion (emphasis added) or immigration,” the warning says.
This article from The Guardian quotes David Rehbein of the American Legion voicing opposition to the implications of the report:
I think it is important for all of us to remember that Americans are not the enemy. The terrorists are. The American Legion is well aware and horrified at the pain inflicted during the Oklahoma City bombing, but Timothy McVeigh was only one of more than 42 million veterans who have worn this nation’s uniform during wartime. To continue to use McVeigh as an example of the stereotypical ‘disgruntled military veteran’ is as unfair as using Osama bin Laden as the sole example of Islam.
Such a report is indicative of the nature of the current administration and should be no surprise, given that they generally hold a bias against such conservative-leaning groups such as pro-life activists.